“Her Ghost in the Fog” is the 8th track on Cradle Of Filth’s 2000 release Midian; it is a personal favorite of mine. The song’s rich story telling and audio dynamic inspires dark imagery of a Gothic, romantic tragedy.
“The moon, she hangs like a cruel portrait, soft winds whisper the bidding of trees, as this tragedy starts with a shattered glass heart, and the mid-nightmare trampling of dreams, but oh, no tears please, fear and pain may accompany death, but it is desire that shepherds it’s certainty, as we shall see..”
The song begins with the above lyrics acting as a prologue of sorts. It introduces a lead character and spoils the tale as a tragedy, while ambiguously foreshadowing events that would make the story such. Immediately after this narrative introduction, Dani Filth begins telling the story from the perspective of a (presumably) male character whose lover was introduced in the prologue.
Dani opens the story, describing the beauty of the female role. He uses speech that brilliantly describes her allure, while simultaneously indicating adversity lurking in the near future:
“She was divinity’s creature that kissed the cold mirrors, a queen of snows, far beyond compare, lips attuned to symmetry sought her everywhere, dark liquored eyes, an Arabian nightmare..”
After expressing the perfection of her beauty, Dani Filth goes on to explain how she was defiled and murdered by “those who couldn’t have her” in the woods, while “picking rue by the light of the moon.”
“They raped left.. (five men of God) .. Her ghost in the fog”
The five men exploited her sexually and left “her ghost in the fog.” The lyric “(five men of God)” leads the audience to believe she was assaulted by members of the church. This is later confirmed, when the protagonist discovers his love lying lifeless and tattered. Next to her corpse, he finds “the church bell tower key” revealing the attackers to be priests. The priests were most evidently motivated by her faultless features and “by the taffeta ley of her hips that held sway”, but Dani seems to hint at a possible second motive.
When she was attacked, the “queen of snows” was gathering herbs in the moonlit night. This combined with Dani later describing her as a witch, suggests the priests had come to kill her for her sins, but upon witnessing her mystical attractiveness, they exploited her for sexual pleasure before murdering her.
After discovering his lover violated and deceased, the protagonist describes his mourning and then revisits the themes surrounding her beauty:
“She was Ersulie possessed of a milky white skin, my porcelain yin, a graceful angel of sin”
“And so for her..” he exacts revenge against those who took her from him:
“My lantern chased her phantom and blew, their chapel ablaze and all locked in to a pain, best reserved for judgment that their bible construed”
Here we see he is metaphorically lead to avenge her death by the memory of her perfection, which he describes as “her phantom.” Using the key found next to her corpse, he then locks the chapel doors and sets it on fire, burning the murderous priests alive. This revenge is ironic in that it mimics the judgment they would expect to receive from God, hence “a pain best reserved for judgment that their bible construed.” The song ends with the protagonist taking his own life.
“Her Ghost in the Fog” music video: